Joey Feek Laid to Rest at Private Service in Tennessee
Beloved Joey + Rory singer Joey Martin Feek was laid to rest in a private service at the couple's farm in Pottsville, Tenn., on Tuesday (March 8).
Joey Feek passed away last Friday (March 4) after battling cervical cancer for much of the last two years. Her faith and resolute strength in the face of her illness served as an inspiration to fans around the world, who followed her brave battle closely via Rory's posts to social media and entries in his blog, This Life I Live.
Rory gathered together his closest friends and family to say a final farewell to his wife, whose wish was to be buried on their farm in a simple casket handmade by a close friend of the couple's. Gospel music icon Bill Gaither is a longtime family friend, and he tells People the service was "tearful, but it was optimistic, especially being on the dirt. She was part of the earth. We all felt as though we were close to her."
Joey's casket was carried in a horse-drawn carriage before the service, and Rory addressed the mourners and spoke about his wife before she was buried. "Singers were performing 'Let's Go Down to the River to Pray,'" Gaither shares. "It was just a sweet Tennessee mountain moment. Very positive things were said at the gravesite."
Gaither and his wife Gloria reside in Joey's hometown of Alexandria, Ind., where she spent her last days in hospice surrounded by her loved ones. Joey + Rory recorded their final album, Hymns That Are Important to Us, for Gaither's label imprint. He says Rory is doing as well as can be expected after his loss and is set on settling into life as a single father to the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Indiana, who has Down syndrome.
"I talked to him last night about the service, and I said, 'First, Rory – how are you doing?' and he said, 'Well, I took Indiana to the school this morning to enroll her,'" Gaither says. "He said, 'This is the first day of the rest of my life. I have responsibilities.' I think that's pretty special. [He's thinking], 'What is the next step?'"
Gaither says the couple's relationship was an inspiration.
"They've been married only 15 years, but I think they would say 15 great, fantastic years," he shares. "I look at people who have been married 50 or 60 years and I say, 'What would they give for 15 great years out of the 50 or 60?'"
The Gaithers will host a public memorial for Joey on March 13 at the Alexandria-Monroe High School gymnasium in her hometown at 2:30PM, along with Rev. Jerry Young and Mike Owens. Rory and other members of her family are expected to speak.
"It's a special way for the family to say thanks to the community and for the community to love on the family," says Gaither.
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