News

Joey Feek's Father, Jack Martin, Dies at Age 73

FILE - In this April 3, 2011, file photo, Joey Martin Feek, left, and husband Rory Lee Feek, of "Joey + Rory," arrive at the Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nev. Joey died Friday, March 4, 2016, her manager said. Feek, who had been diagnosed with cancer two years ago, died at home in Indiana, Aaron Carnahan said. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Jack Martin, the father of the late country and gospel singer Joey Feek, has died. His son-in-law of nearly 20 years, Rory Feek, shared the news on his website.

"On Sunday, my wife Joey got to see her daddy for the first time in five years," Rory wrote. "On her side of heaven, I'll bet there was a lot of rejoicing going on. On our side, there were lots of tears, but not many of them happy ones."

Martin, age 73, had a heart attack while on a flight to Las Vegas. Martin and his wife were taking a trip to see the Grand Canyon and other sites.

"In mid-flight, the plane had to divert and do an emergency landing in Kansas City," Rory wrote. "Paramedics tried for forty minutes to revive him, but it was no use."

Rory was in Alabama recording a tribute song for Tony Rice when he got the call from his sister-in-law, Jody.

"We will be heading north in a few days, to remember Jack and be with all the family as they lay him beneath a willow tree, or at least next to his only son Justin, who tragically died from a car accident in 1994 at only seventeen," Rory wrote. "And there will be more tears and more sadness, along with some wonderful stories and memories shared I'm sure. I haven't told Indiana yet. I will, when we get up there and she can see and better understand what's happening, but right now it would probably be confusing for her. Too much for a seven-year-old who 'can't understand why her Mama can't face-time her on her birthday' to take in at once."

Rory's 7-year-old daughter Indiana Feek was born just three months before her mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Joey passed away on March 4, 2016. She's buried on the family farm in Columbia, Tennessee.

Joey and Rory met in Nashville and wed in 2002. Six years later, the songwriters' appearances on CMT competition series Can You Duet launched a career as a country duo that brought fans eight albums and a Top 30 country hit, "Cheater, Cheater."

Rory's blog This Life I Live chronicled not just Joey's sickness but also their family's faith journey. An RFD-TV docu-series, also titled This Life I Live, chronicles the Feek family's life after Joey as well as the opening of a new restraurant dedicated to her, Marcy Jo's Muletown.

Read More: Carly Pearce Debuted a Loretta Lynn Tribute Song on the Grand Ole Opry Stage

The Joey+Rory album Hymns That Are Important to Us won a 2017 Grammy award in the Roots Gospel Album category.

Rory's songwriting success dates back to "Someone You Used to Know," a Top 5 hit in 1999 for Collin Raye. Other country singers who'd go on to record Rory's co-writes include Blake SheltonKenny Chesney and Randy Travis.

Per a 2020 story by People, Indiana and other local children attend classes at the Hardison Mill Schoolhouse, an old-fashioned one-room schoolhouse which was built using $100,000 donated by fans after Joey's passing.

"We needed to come up with another plan since Joey wasn't going to be able to homeschool Indy," Rory told People.

Now Watch: Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani: Inside Their Love Story

recommended for you

Joey Feek's Father, Jack Martin, Dies at Age 73