The Alexandria-Monroe High School gymnasium in Alexandria, Indiana, was full Sunday evening as members of the community gathered to honor its hometown hero, Joey Feek. The public memorial service was hosted by family friend and gospel great Bill Gaither who thanked Joey’s family for bringing such a sweet spirit into the world. The service featured many touching moments as Joey’s sisters, parents, daughter, and husband were all in attendance.
The crowd of more than 1200 came to its feet as Rory and 2-year old Indy entered the gymnasium prior to the start of the service.
— David MacAnally (@DavidMacAnally) March 13, 2016
Joey’s oldest sister, Jody, who nursed Joey during her final months, took the stage and spoke about the special moments the two shared at the end of Joey’s life.
“Joey has taught me so much about myself that I never saw. About love, about living, and about sacrifice. So thank you Rory for allowing Joey to stay here,” Jody said.
Joey’s parents, Jack and June Martin, spoke about their daughter. “I’m so blessed to be the one she called dad,” Jack said after sharing his story about finding faith during Joey’s cancer battle. The couple then led the crowd in the beautiful Christian hymn “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”
One of the evening’s most anticipated and emotional moments came when Rory Feek took the stage to speak about his wife and their story. He shared in a way that only Rory can about Joey’s love for people and especially her love for him.
“I wrote songs about magical love, but I never knew it was real. I never believed it existed. Not really. But, it does. I’m here to tell you it’s possible to experience the kind of love you see in movies. All you have to do is give that kind of love first,” Rory shared. “I had gone through my life and never seen such a thing until I met Joey. But, when she came into my life I saw what love really looks like.”
The public memorial service came just days after Joey was laid to rest in the family cemetery on the Pottsville, Tennessee, farm she shared with Rory. Joey passed away on March 4 following a battle with terminal cervical cancer.
Take a look behind the scenes of Joey+Rory’s emotional video for “When I’m Gone” by clicking here.