Rugby player.

Born: June 12, 1938; Died: October 24, 2013.

Joseph James McPartlin, who has died at the age of 75, was one of the game's special characters, who fulfilled nearly every possible role in rugby and carried out his duties, on and off the pitch, with a mustard-keen relish.

He was an internationalist, a referee, a committee stalwart, accomplished after-dinner speaker, devoted servant both to Scotland and to Oxford University, and would have painted the clubhouse walls or sold tickets for the latter if anybody had asked him.

He was born in West Hartlepool to Glaswegian parents, had dual nationality, yet there was never any question that his heart belonged to Scotland and, although he was educated at Wimbledon College and subsequently undertook National Service in the Army, before reading geography at Oxford University prior to becoming a teacher at St Edmund's School in the famous English city, his main passion was rugby.

As a versatile three-quarter at a time when the Scots were struggling on the international stage, it was no more than he deserved when McPartlin was called up by the Murrayfield selectors to make his debut against France at Murrayfield in 1960.

That contest finished in a 13-11 defeat for the hosts in Edinburgh and it was the player's misfortune in his initial season that he was involved in a side which struggled to acquire the knack of winning.

Nor did he help his cause when he decided to play against Wales with a broken hand and, understandably failed to display his normal standards.

Nonetheless, nobody who witnessed McPartlin in his pomp had any doubts he was an extremely accomplished performer, who adapted immediately to the demands of Test rugby.

He didn't feature for Scotland in 1961, but was part of the side which almost won the Triple Crown for the first time since 1935 in the following season, as his brother, Gerry, remembers.

"Joe just loved life, flung himself into it whole-heartedly and that was very nearly one of the best-ever seasons for Scotland," says Gerry. "He was involved in the teams which won away against Wales 8-3 and Ireland 20-6 and it meant they had the chance to make a bit of history against England at Murrayfield."

That Saturday produced one of the biggest crowds who had turned up to watch an international match [the attendance was 82,500] and the home fans arrived expectantly, but it finished up in stalemate at 3-3 and Ken Scotland missed a couple of kicks, so there was a sense of frustration at the end.

"Most of us thought the side was gelling together and Joe was in the middle of it," says Gerry.

"Strangely, however, he was never picked for Scotland again. I was at the national trial in 1963, and I reckoned he played as well as I had ever seen him, but, for some reason, he wasn't chosen for the Five Nations and that was that. Perhaps, because he enjoyed a laugh and never took himself too seriously, he gained a bit of a reputation as being a playboy.

"And it probably didn't help either that he was turning out in England for Harlequins. But he never really let it get him down.

"He loved fun, and making others laugh, and he was dedicated to teaching, so once he had retired from rugby - after winning three blues for Oxford, and also representing Oxfordshire, Surrey, the Army and the Barbarians - there were ample other things to engage him."

He took up refereeing, wrote several articles, in a droll, anecdotal tone for match programmes, served in a variety of roles on the Oxford University RFC committee and also coached a youth team with such success that they went through an entire season without losing, which proved his worth as a mentor and motivator, both inside and outside the classroom.

As Gerry said: "Oxford was one of the loves of his life: he first went there in 1959 and never really left. And whatever needed doing, he did it."

The OURFC issued a warm tribute, declaring: "After an illustrious playing career, Joe also served on our committee for close to 40 years, from June 1975 onwards, fulfilling many roles, including Honorary Fixture Secretary for many years.

"Joe was also a marvellous after-dinner speaker and raconteur, who will be sorely missed by all those who knew him."

A Requiem Mass will be held on Thursday in Oxford, followed by a reception at the OURFC pavilion.

There will doubtless be sadness during the occasion, but Gerry insisted he wanted it to be a celebration of Joe's life.

"He had been ill for a long time, but it was in his nature to smile and take the positives from things and, basically, we want to make this a memorable party in his memory. That is what he would have wanted."

Joe is survived by Gerry and two other brothers, George and John, and a sister, Mary.