Albert H. Sapp, 64, baker, jewelry maker, songwriter

Posted: September 05, 2014

NANYA AMIR EL had to fend off people who wanted to buy the bracelets he was wearing right off his arms.

No wonder. They are spectacular pieces of jewelry wrought by his father, Albert H. Sapp. But the jewelry, as coveted as it was, represented only one of the many accomplishments of Nanya's father.

He was also a talented baker, whose products were in demand throughout the city; a musician who wrote songs of social significance; an author whose self-published books taught life lessons; a healer who used only natural products for hair, skin and digestive health; and a fisherman who plied the local streams and lakes and the ocean for dinner.

He also studied martial arts, practicing in Fairmount Park with his teacher.

In other words, there wasn't much that Albert H. Sapp didn't master if it related to the betterment of himself and mankind.

He died Aug. 27 of cardiac arrest. He was 64 and lived in West Philadelphia.

Albert converted to Islam in 1969 and took the name Zade Zaahir Muhammad. But by whatever name, he was a community asset and a man whose main reason for living seemed to be to take care of others, especially the elderly.

He also took his baking skills into the public schools to instruct students in the trade.

"Zade lived the life some people dream of living," his son said. "The world cried when he died."

"Albert was a beloved member of our neighborhood," said Jean Waites-Howard, teacher and social worker, referring to the Lansdowne Avenue area of West Philadelphia where they grew up.

As members of the Lansdowne Reunion Organization, they conducted mentoring programs at Heston Elementary School, at 54th Street and Lansdowne Avenue, "the school that most of us who grew up in the area attended," Jean said.

"He greatly impacted everyone who knew him," she said. "He was loving and always expressed love to all of us."

Albert played the guitar and wrote three memorable songs: "Invisible Man," about the men who do good but are invisible to the outside world; "Regular Guy," about responsibility; and "Shell," referring to the outer body that encases the soul.

Albert made healthy potions out of plants for use in hair, skin and digestion.

One of Albert's products was a toothpaste that he concocted from coconut and mustard.

"If someone was sick or down, he would be there with a comforting word or a listening ear," Nanya said. "He could talk people out of harming themselves or others."

As a Muslim, Zade never missed a prayer, his son said, and was devoted to the Sunnah, the Islamic spiritual path.

Albert was born in Philadelphia to Arthur and Elizabeth Sapp. He was married twice, to Yasmin Morris and Kathy Jenkins Sapp.

Besides his son, he is survived by two other sons, Albert H. Sapp Jr. and Jewel Akbar Jenkins; two daughters, Salima Jenkins Sapp and Asia Jenkins Sapp; three brothers, Walter, John and Arthur; four sisters, Shirley, Joyce, Loretta and Caroline; and 12 grandchildren.

Services: Memorial service was held Aug. 29.

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