Joey Feek, one half of the Christian country duo Joey + Rory Feek, has died after a bout of nine months with terminal cancer. Joey received a private funeral only attended by friends, neighbors,and family. She was buried on Tuesday at the family's Pottsville, Tennessee farm.
"It was tearful, but it was optimistic, especially being on the dirt," the couple's close friend Bill Gaither tells PEOPLE exclusively. "She was part of the earth. We all felt as though we were close to her."
Joey's casket was placed on a horse-drawn carriage and Rory spoke about his wife at the memorial service before she was buried. "Singers were performing 'Let's Go Down to the River to Pray,'" says Gaither. "It was just a sweet Tennessee mountain moment. Very positive things were said at the gravesite."
Rory was heartbroken but remained strong for his two year-old daughter Indiana. Gaither continues: "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.'"
"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?'"
Meanwhile, Bill and Gloria Gaither will host a public memorial service for Joey Martin Feek in her hometown of Alexandria, Ind., on Sunday (March 13). Joey Feek, one half of the Christian country duo Joey + Rory Feek, passed away on March 4 after a long battle with cancer.
Bill and Gloria Gaither live in Joey's hometown of Alexandria, and they are longtime supporters of the duo. The Gaithers even visited Joey to support her after she ceased her treatments and returned to Alexandria to spend her final days with friends and family, as Rory described in his blog, This Life I Live.
"Joey was one of a kind," Bill Gaither says in a press release. "We all will miss that sweet, transparent spirit."