Joey Feek's former teachers and basketball coach spoke at the moving memorial
Hundreds gathered at the Alexandria-Monroe High School gymnasium in Alexandria, Indiana, on Sunday to pay their respects to Joey Feek.
A public memorial was held for the 40-year-old in her hometown, in an emotional service including remarks from Feek’s husband Rory, her sisters as well as her teachers and former 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,” Rory said ahead of the memorial.
The memorial included sing-alongs of Joey’s favorite songs, including “Lean On Me,” and an appearance from Rory and Indiana, who received a standing ovation when they appeared in the gymnasium.
The public service comes just days after Rory, along with the couple’s closest family and friends, said their final goodbye’s to the singer in a private funeral at the family’s Pottsville, Tennessee, farm. Rory blogged about the funeral on Saturday, writing, “She’ll always be with us, on our hearts, forever.”
“It was tearful, but it was optimistic, especially being on the dirt,” Bill Gaither, a close friend of the company previously told PEOPLE. “She was part of the earth. We all felt as though we were close to her.”
Joey’s casket lay in repose on a horse-drawn carriage as Rory spoke about her before her burial.
Rory broke the sad news in an emotional post to his blog This Life I Live on March 4, writing that his wife is in heaven.
“Though this is, and has been, a time of many tears of sorrow, it has also been a time of countless tears of joy,” Rory said of Joey’s final months.
“There have been too many beautiful moments to count or even begin to share … But I try.”