Joey Feek has become known for so many qualities. She was half of the country music duo Joey + Rory and recently nominated with her husband (Rory Feek) for a Grammy. Joey was a loving mother to their 2-year-old daughter, Indiana, who was born with Down syndrome; a devoted wife; and a passionate gardener. But above all, Joey became known for her courage, strength, and faith as she battled terminal cancer. In an emotional funeral followed by a heartbreaking memorial service, Rory remembered and honored his wife along with family, friends, and neighbors, reported People.
Held at the Alexandria-Monroe High School gymnasium in Alexandria, Indiana, the memorial for Joey, who passed away at 40 earlier this month, included Rory, little Indiana, Joey’s sisters, teachers, and even her basketball coach.
“It’s a special way for the family to say thanks to the community, and for the community to love on the family,” explained Rory.
Both Feek and his daughter Indiana earned a standing ovation from the hometown crowd, who participated in the sing-alongs of Joey’s beloved tunes, which included “Lean On Me.”
Rory has shared his love for Joey and her struggle on his blog, “This Life I Live.” He recently shared about the funeral with a heartbreaking revelation about his beloved wife.
“She’ll always be with us, on our hearts, forever.”
Bill Gaither, who was close to the country duo, revealed his own perspective on the funeral.
“It was tearful, but it was optimistic, especially being on the dirt,” described Gaither. “She was part of the earth. We all felt as though we were close to her.”
Rory devoted a blog to describing the funeral and final farewell to Joey.
“We laid my beautiful wife to rest. In a grove of sassafras trees behind our farmhouse, with friends and family gathered around, we said goodbye to the greatest person I have ever known,” wrote Feek. “We spent the afternoon a few steps from Joey’s garden, hugging and loving and celebrating the beautiful life she lived.”
But then they were alone, father and daughter, to remember the woman who had been the center of their world.
“When most of the guests had gone and the sun was starting to fade, Indy and I took the short walk together into the back field to see her mama one more time. We took a deep breath and did what Joey would want us to do. We remembered that she’s still with us. She’ll always be with us. In our hearts.”
For fans of Joey, she will live on in her music and inspiration, pointed out Us Weekly.
And those memories were evident in the hundreds who attended her hometown public memorial service in Alexandria, Indiana, on Sunday. They showed their support for the Feek family with flameless candles, signs, and photos of Joey and Rory as well as quotes.
“Joey is a hometown hero and her hymns and stories are so inspirational to me and my family,” summed up Howard Wright, a local resident of Alexandria. “We love [Joey and Rory] and hope she’s staring down on this day from heaven, looking at all the hometown support she has here today.”
Among those honoring Joey was the Feek family pastor, Jerry Young.
“I loved Joey, her spirit and soul, and she loved all of you. I want to thank this community for what God has done with it. God has showed us the way, and Joey was a beautiful child of God.”
Rory recalled how Joey had enjoyed playing basketball in the room as the pastor gave Feek his wife’s high school varsity jacket.
“She loved playing here. This place taught her a lot of lessons, but what she really lettered in was love,” summed up Feek.
[Image via This Life I Live]