Gone but never forgotten. Joey Feek was remembered in an emotional public memorial service in her hometown of Alexandria, Indiana, on Sunday, March 13, just one week after she lost her long battle with terminal cancer.
The service, which brought in hundreds of adoring fans and friends, took place in the gymnasium of Alexandria-Monroe High School, where Joey graduated from in 1994. Several fans carried signs with quotes and pictures of Joey and her husband and fellow country singer Rory Feek, while others held flameless candles.
“Joey is a hometown hero and her hymns and stories are so inspirational to me and my family,” Howard Wright, a 36-year-old Alexandria resident told Us Weekly. “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.”
Rory, 49 — who documented his final moments with his late wife on his blog, including a sweet memorial video — attended the beautiful service with his family. He arrived in a white button-down and denim overalls, holding the couple’s daughter, Indiana. “There were loud cheers and applause as he came in and took his seat [in the front row],” a source tells Us.
The Feeks’ family friend Bill Gaither was the first to take the stage, sharing stories of Joey growing up, attending church and playing sports. “She was always excelling at everything she put her mind to and made this town a brighter place with her smile and light,” he said.
Shortly after, Rory and Gaither took the stage to start a singalong of one of Joey’s favorite songs, “Lean on Me,” before a video tribute with touching photos of Joey, Rory and Indiana played.
“I loved Joey, her spirit and soul, and she loved all of you,” Jerry Young, the Feeks’ pastor, said during his speech. “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.”
Pastor Young then presented Rory with Joey’s high school varsity jacket, which he put on as the large crowd applauded.
“This is such a special place, with special people, for us all to be in today,” Rory somberly said, as the crowd grew silent. “This is the place that Joey played basketball. She loved playing here. This place taught her a lot of lessons, but what she really lettered in was love.”
Gaither brought Joey’s mom, June Martin, on stage to sing “Close to Thee.” A source tells Us that she was “teary eyed at the end of her song, [but] the crowd went wild for her after she finished.”
At the end of the loving ceremony, Rory said, “Joey, I’ll see you at the house.”
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