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Joe Couri MD, or Dr. Joe as his patients call him, is a retired local rheumatologist and native Peorian. He practiced for thirty six years at Unity Point Methodist. He has been a long time volunteer for the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation, is past chair of the board and has served on the National Board of Trustees and the House of Delegates. He has served on the Peoria County Medical Society board and was Chairman of the editorial board of the Peoria Medicine Magazine. He has served on the board of Elders at Redeemer Lutheran Church and the Methodist Medical Center Hospital board as well as the Unity Point Methodist Foundation board.
In 2009, the Methodist Medical Group presented Joe with the Dr. Tom Clark Award for excellence in patient care and community service. In 2011, the Methodist Medical Center Foundation presented Joe with the Dr. Ward Eastman Award for clinical excellence.
He started singing in grade school and began playing the guitar in college. While in training at the Cleveland Clinic he organized a band which produced a record with four original songs. As a songwriter, Joe has written and produced fourteen songs for local organizations and has made four music videos. He performs at Brown Bag-It at the Peoria County Court House and numerous other local events. He also performs with the praise band at Redeemer Lutheran Church. He has appeared in many shows at Cornstock, Peoria Players, East Light Theaters, and Haberdasher’s Dinner Playhouse. In 2004, he released a CD of original songs and is planning a new CD this year. He has been named Artist of the month by the Akademia Music Awards, out of Los Angeles, for 7 songs in the last 4 years. He was named co artist of the year in the hip hop category for 2017 along with War Muhammad for their continued work on the Don't Start project to reach youth to keep them out of trouble. He was awarded the Akademia Executive Award for 2018 and the Akademia Vision Award for 2019 for his continued body of work.
Joe is a self-taught photographer who has been taking pictures seriously since 1981. Initially his main interest was landscape, sunrise and sunset photos. For the last twenty five years, he has captured images of familiar Peoria locations and landmarks. His images have appeared on nineteen postcards, five posters, multiple calendars, agency reports, local magazines and websites, as well as the cover of Jerry Klein’s book The Very Best of Old Peoria. His image of the Peoria skyline appears on the Peoria Public Library card. He displayed photos as part of The Illinois River Stories exhibit at the Peoria Art Guild in 2006, and had an exclusive show of National Park photos at the Peoria Art Guild in 2007. His photos have won 13 ribbons at the Heart of Illinois Fair and awards at several other regional contests. In February of 2014, he provided photos for a Reader’s Theatre production of Seasonings. The production, performed in the theater of the Peoria Riverfront Museum, featured the essays of Peoria writer, Jerry Klein. He has had photo shows at the Peoria Public Library February 2015 and Exhibit A Gallery in 2016 and multiple other local venues.
The challenge of photography is not as much learning how to use the camera as it is being in the right place at the right time. One might wait as long as an hour for the exact conditions to develop, whereas at other times there is barely enough time to set up the tripod and shoot away. The timing of the interplay among the clouds, sun and horizon can be critical.