The number of people who have benefited from Bruce Dodge's work for Bay of Plenty rugby is likely to be in the thousands.

The Tauranga 83-year-old died suddenly on September 20 and the Bay of Plenty rugby community says he will be remembered as someone who was selfless, and always willing to do what he could in the interests of rugby, clubs and the players

Dodge, who has been involved with rugby in both the Bay of Plenty and Poverty Bay regions collectively for more than 50 years, was made a life member of the Tauranga Sports Club in 2003, the Western Bay of Plenty Sub Union in 2004 and the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union in 2016.

Originally from Gisborne, Dodge arrived in Tauranga in 1978, making a massive impact on rugby in the region right from the start, acknowledged as being "largely responsible" for the successful amalgamation of the Tauranga Old Boys and Otumoetai Cadets in 1988, establishing Tauranga Sports Club Inc.

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Bay of Plenty Rugby chief executive Mike Rogers said the impact Dodge had on rugby in the region was massive, with the number of people who would have benefited from the hours he and his late wife - netball stalwart Helen Dodge - had put into sports likely to have been in the "thousands".

"He was a humble man who had the interests of the game at heart," Rogers said.

"He always wanted to contribute back to the game and back to the community, and I think you could see that through the contribution that he made in the various ways, he was always prepared to try and help, roll up his sleeves and get involved."

"He was genuinely a good person, and he'll be sorely missed."

Rogers said Dodge, a well-respected and welcoming man, was at the forefront of club rugby, making decisions that would benefit the game and would remember him as someone with a wealth of knowledge.

"He was always there when you needed him.

"My lasting memory of him was it was always in the best interest of the game and the players and the club and the community, certainly he was a very selfless person who always gave for the game."

Fellow Tauranga Sports Rugby Club Life Member Graeme Moore has known Dodge for more than 30 years, describing him as the "guiding light" and "largely responsible" for the successful amalgamation of the Tauranga Old Boys and Otumoetai Cadets in 1988 which established Tauranga Sports Club Inc.

Moore, who was the president of the Cadets at the time, says it was when he took a proposal of amalgamation to Tauranga Old Boys in 1987/88 that he was first introduced to Dodge, spending many months together, along with others, formulating a plan.

"Bruce's administrative skills, calm manner and knowledge of all things rugby were apparent from the start," Moore says.

"There were other strong contributors, but for me, he was the guiding light of those negotiations and largely responsible for the hugely successful outcome," he says.

He says it was a proud moment for his "old friend" when Dodge's grandson Kaden began playing senior level rugby for the club "his granddad was so instrumental in establishing".

"Bruce has joined his beloved Helen after a lifetime of challenge and achievement."

The first time fellow Tauranga Sports Club life member Max Heimann met Dodge was about 50 years ago when Bay of Plenty played Poverty Bay in the East Coast in the 60s.

Heimann was a visiting player, and Dodge was involved with the Poverty Bay Rugby Union, and even though the players and administration didn't often mix, he remembers Dodge introducing him to crayfish.

He says Dodge served both the Bay of Plenty and Poverty Bay very well.

BRUCE DODGE:

1970:

Assisted with the formation of an 'Old Boys Easter Tournament' between Old Boys clubs from Gisborne, Tauranga, Hastings and Te Aroha

1977:

Poverty Bay Rugby Union chairman

1978:

Arrived in Tauranga from Gisborne aged 43

1981-1988:

Tauranga Old Boys Committee

1984–1994:

Delegate for Tauranga Old Boys and Tauranga Sports on the Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty Sub Unions

1985-1989:

Inter–City Rugby Committee

1989:

Inter–City Rugby chairman

1989-1992:

Tauranga Sports Committee, when Old Boys amalgamated with Cadets

1989-1994:

Bay of Plenty Rugby Management Committee

1990-1994:

Western Bay of Plenty Sub Union chairman

1990-2003:

Baywide Competition Committee

1990-1991:

Union delegate to the NZRU Annual General Meeting

1993-1994:

Bay of Plenty Rugby Management Finance Committee chairman

1997-2003:

Western Bay of Plenty Board of Delegates

1999-2003:

Western Bay of Plenty Board of Delegates chairman

2002-2014:

Produced all Baywide Senior Rugby draws together with Western Bay of Plenty club rugby draws

2003:

Life Member of Tauranga Sports Rugby Club

2004:

Life Member of Western Bay of Plenty Sub-Union

2006:

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union vice president

2007-2008:

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union president

2016:

Life Member of Bay of Plenty Rugby Union