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The story of Joey Feek and how she died shortly after being diagnosed with cervical cancer is always a sad one anytime it is told. A country singer, Joey was best known for being the half of the singing duo Joey + Rory, the other half being her husband Rory Feek.
After years of efforts trying to reach the top in the music industry, Joey finally got her start in 2008 after becoming a finalist in the CMT musical game show Can You Duet. She left indelible records behind earning both an ACM and Grammy award.
Joey Feek Bio/Wiki, Family
Joey Feek (nee Marie Martin) was born on September 9, 1975, in Alexandria, Indiana as the third child in a family of 5. She has three sisters named Jody, Julie, Jessie and one younger brother Justin (now late), all born to the same parents Jack and June Martin who were both musicians in their own right
As a child, Joey followed in the footsteps of her parents and became passionate about singing. With much support from her family especially her dad who played the guitar, Joey began performing.
At the age of 6, she made her debut performance at a first-grade talent show She had sung Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors.” Fast forward to 17 years later, Joey, in 1998 relocated to Nashville, Tennessee to actively pursue a career, not as a musician but as a veterinarian, which is understandable as she grew up in a farmhouse.
However, her dealings with music would connect her to the likes of Wilbur, the father of country child star LeAnn Rimes, as well as Kix Brooks.
Joey, however, didn’t take any major step to becoming a music star, until she met songwriter Rory Feek at the Bluebird Café in Nashville. She married him in 2002 and began singing back-up on songs Rory had produced.
Subsequently, she landed a record deal with Sony and in 2005 recorded her solo album Strong Enough to Cry which unfortunately was not published due to changes in the record label. After her death, the album was renamed If Not For You and released in on April 7, 2017, under Farmhouse Recordings.
Joey’s first taste of stardom came in 2008 when she, upon a friend’s suggestion, entered the new CMT musical show “Can You Duet” alongside her husband Rory with the simple name Joey + Rory.
After being placed third, the duo earned a recording deal with Sugarhill Vanguard Records which went on to produce 3 of their albums. Joey + Rory won the 2010 Academy of Country Music Award for Top Vocal Duo of the Year and received a nomination for Top New Artist. The following year, they won the Inspirational Country Music Award for Vocal Duo.
Even on her sick bed, Joey was receiving award nominations. Their song “If I Needed You” in 2016 received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
Before her death, Joey and her husband recorded their last album together, an album of hymns, “Hymns That Are Important To Us” which in 2017 won the Grammy Award for Best Roots Gospel Album. The album topped the Billboard Country Albums chart and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
Joey Feek’s Brother – Justin Martin
Joey’s tragic death in March 2016 wasn’t the first death her family had recorded. The family lost their only son/brother Justin to a car accident in 1994. After being hit near the family’s farm in Indiana, the poor 17-year-old boy succumbed to his injuries two days later and was laid to rest.
On February 17, 2014, Joey and Rory welcomed their first child, a daughter named Indiana Boon Feek. However, days after the child’s birth, the couple were greeted with the sad news of their daughter being diagnosed with the Downs syndrome. Bad became worse when Joey was also diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer.
In less than a year after surgeons had declared her cancer free, Joey in June 2015 fell ill again and was told by doctors that the cancer had returned.
Towards the end of 2015, Joey entered hospice care and spent the months following her death at her birth home in Indiana in the care of her family. She breathed her last on March 4th, 2016 at 2.30 PM and was laid to rest at Rory’s family’s Feek Farm cemetery following a private funeral. She was 40 years old.
Joey’s husband Rory documented the days following her cancer diagnosis on camera and in writing which he shared with fans on his blog. The final piece titled “To Joey, With Love,” was shown in theaters in September 2017. The documentary was proceeded by a book published in February.
Joey was Rory’s second wife. The Kansas native had two daughters from his former marriage. They are Heidi Feek (born 1986) and Hopie Feek (born 1988).
Her husband Rory Lee Feek, served in the Marines before moving to Nashville in 1995. He was also a staff writer for Hall of Fame songwriter Harlan Howard, and then Clint Black. He is the owner of the Giantslayer publishing company and record label, founded in 2004.
In addition to singing, Joey co-owned a cafe with her husband’s sister Macy. Named Marcy Jo’s Mealhouse, it was located in rural Pottsville, Tennessee.