An elderly rugby league club president killed in a car crash was on his way to deliver the weekly raffle prizes when he died.

Members of the Rodney Rams League Club in Whangateau, north of Auckland, suspected something was wrong when Raymond "Inky" Inkersole was 10 minutes late to the club.

"They were waiting for him at the club to turn up with the raffles - you could set the clock to him because he was always there on time," friend Lynette Penney said.

"He did raffles every week to keep the club going. He was the backbone of the place."

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When Inkersole didn't arrive members were worried he had been involved a crash they had just heard about.

Ten minutes later they received a phone call confirming the club president had been killed in the crash.

"He lived and breathed the club, it was his second family," Penney said.

"He was a fine gentleman and as old as he was, he still did everything he could for the club."

Inkersole has two granddaughters and a sister overseas but no other family.

His wife Lorna passed away in the 1990s and his only son died more than five years ago.

Inkersole, 81, was credited with saving the club twice. In 2000 he rallied to keep the club open and ended up fundraising to buy the clubhouses.

Then in 2014 an electrical fire destroyed the club and Inkersole was instrumental in raising funds above the insurance payment.

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Inkersole put his own money into paying for a deck at the club.

"The club was about to have a grand opening in September so it is really sad that he will miss that," Penney said.

Club chairperson Kahu Viliua described Inkersole as a "father figure" to those at the club.

"We will miss his passion and words of wisdom. Without him the Rams would not still have been here," Viliua said.

One other person was moderately injured and another hurt in the three-car crash, which happened on Thursday at 3.20pm on Matakana Rd.

The Serious Crash Unit is investigating.

A celebration of Inkersole's life will be held at the Rodney Rams clubroom on August 3 at 2.30pm.