Jean Tener was born in London, lived there during the Blitz, and spent the rest of WW II evacuated in Somerset. In 1952, she came to Canada as an immigrant, intending to stay for only six months. Her brother had trained in the Commonwealth Air Training Scheme and had returned to Canada after the war. Jean married Canadian Robert Tener in 1955. In 1962, Robert joined the English Department at the University in Calgary, and Jean recommenced her studies and graduated with a BA and an MA in history.
Jean joined the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections of the University of Calgary Library in 1973, where she quickly became involved with the growing archival collections, particularly the literary ones. Just as quickly, Jean became involved in the archival profession. She attended the Public Archives of Canada course held in conjunction with the University of Ottawa in the fall and spring of 1976-1977, followed by a certificate course in Advanced Archival Arrangement and Description from the University of Washington in 1979. In 1984, she was appointed University Archivist, a position she held until her retirement in 1991.
During her career, she served in various professional associations, including the Directors of Alberta’s Archives, the Alberta Archives Council (1988-1990), and at the executive level with the Alberta Society of Archivists (1986-1988), the Association of Canadian Archivists (1979-1981), and the Canadian Council of Archives. Jean passed away on May 5, 2016.