Site Printout

Site address:

In Remembrance of Robert Hampden Tener

12 December, 1925 ~ 30 December, 2016
Falkland, BC, Canada

Message from Jan Sanford:

" Colin and Ann, Janice and James and Taylor would like to express our sorrow at the passing of our wonderful father, father-in-law and grandfather. He was a learned man with a strong mind and an even stronger heart. He will be with us forever. "


DR. ROBERT HAMPDEN TENER, December 12, 1925-December 30, 2016. Robert Tener, 91, of Calgary, Alberta, passed away suddenly on December 30, 2016. Robert is survived by his son Colin (Ann Gronow) of Toronto, daughter Janice (James) Sanford of Calgary, and granddaughter Taylor Sanford of Calgary. He is also survived by his older brother John Tener of Ottawa, and his sisters, Doreen Chutter of Kamloops, Kathleen Shea of Penticton, and Veronica Cameron of Grange-Over-Sands, England. He is predeceased by his loving wife, Jean, and brothers, David and Gordon Tener. Robert also leaves his brother-in-law Ron Baker, and sister-in-law Trudie and numerous special nieces and nephews.

Robert was born in 1925 to Charlotte E. Simpson and John F. Tener, Jr. in Falkland, BC, a farming community in the interior of British Columbia. The family story relates that he was born the second of six children in a log cabin in a December snowstorm. It was the encouragement of his mother towards higher education and childhood financial insecurity that drove his desire to pursue education at the University of British Columbia (UBC) as a young man. His journey to complete his undergraduate degree was not without difficulty, however, as he had to interrupt his studies several times to work in frozen food factories and sawmills to pay for his tuition and living expenses. In 1947, Robert was granted a BA in English from UBC. He continued on and completed his MA in 1949. Following the completion of his MA, Robert taught high school for a few years before continuing towards his Ph.D. In 1954 he met and in 1955 married the love of his life, Jean Baker, a university student and the sister of a friend at UBC. The congregation was delighted that the Minister married them “in sickness and in wealth.” Together they began what would be a very happy marriage. Their first child, Colin, was born in 1956 in Vancouver. Robert and Jean then immediately left Canada for England so that Robert could work on his Ph.D. During the time as a Ph.D. student, Robert and Jean’s second child, Janice, was born in London, England, in 1958. Robert completed his Ph.D. in 1960 at Birkbeck College, at the University of London. The family then returned to Canada and UBC where he taught for two years. Robert soon realized that there were a number of people ahead of him who were trained to teach Victorian Literature at UBC and that it would take many years to move ahead. With help from friend, Professor Ian Adam, whom he had met while they were both graduate students in England, Robert applied and was hired by the newly established branch of the University of Alberta in Calgary. With a growing English Department, Robert soon found a secure and happy place as a professor and Victorian Literature specialist.

Robert’s love of English literature led him to research and become a leading world expert on the Victorian editor and critic, Richard Holt Hutton. Robert wrote and published two books and numerous articles over the years about R. H. Hutton, identifying articles previously not attributed to Hutton. Robert was a keen scholar reading extensively in many disciplines his whole life, especially in the sciences. He was also instrumental in the early development of the University of Calgary Library. Robert retired from the University of Calgary in 1991 after 30 years of devoted service. During that time Robert and Jean made numerous friends and they will be remembered for their famous dinner parties where they were gracious, fun-loving hosts. Jean and Robert have recently donated their personal library collection to the University of Calgary.

After their retirements, one of the highlights of Robert and Jean’s lives was the birth of their only grandchild, Taylor Nicole, in August of 1997. Robert and Jean also celebrated 60 years of marriage on May 21, 2015. Robert’s friends will miss his dry sense of humour, keen intelligence and generosity. Robert was a good friend, wonderful father and loving, attentive grandfather.

Many thanks to the administration and care staff at the Manor Village at Rocky Ridge, Calgary, for their care and understanding.

Condolences and special memories may be sent to under Robert Tener. In lieu of flowers please donate to the University of Calgary through the Robert and Jean Tener Anniversary Bursary.


Memory by Apollonia Steele   Jan 10, 2017
My deepest condolences to Janice, Taylor, James, Colin and Ann, and to all the Tener and Baker families as we mark the passing of our dear friend Robert. I echo all the remarks of friends who enjoyed the gracious and generous Tener hospitality from the moment we all first set foot at the University of Calgary to the help in troubled times and many times in between. For me, lots of memories abound: going to Hadrian’s Wall, visiting the Bronte home, Hampton Court, Stratford-upon-Avon, Verona and Venice (twice) where they helped me celebrate my 60th and 61st birthdays. When I am asked how I enjoyed x, y or z, I always quote Robert who said that I had no taste because I like everything. I am grateful that I got to like so many things in their company. They gave me the great privilege of being an unofficial member of the family.

Memory by Chris Wiseman   Jan 9, 2017
For many years I had an office next to Bob's and we talked a lot. He was a great colleague and, the first day he I arrived in the university, he invited me to dinner at his house. He and Jean were war, generous and gracious hosts, and it was always fun to have dinner at their house. Without knowing it, Bob got me on track to finishing my Ph.D. by one remark, and I have been extremely grateful to him over the years, especially for his support for my starting Creative Writing, and for his often direct, though sometimes wry, sense of humour. I regarded both Bob and Jean to be friends and I shall miss them both. A warm, generous man who was, in a non-clichéd way, the exemplar of a scholar and a gentleman, and one of the stalwarts of that old English Department of the 1960s,which was a happy place to be.

Memory by Pam McCallum   Jan 9, 2017
When I came to the University of Calgary Department as a young faculty member, Jean and Bob Tener were very welcoming. I shall always remember his sense of humour; he often cheered everyone up on a stressful day.

Memory by Aritha van Herk   Jan 9, 2017
I remember Robert Tener as an elegant and eloquent scholar who was generous and helpful to a new and very young colleague in the Department of English. His wry wit and his impressive knowledge were formidable.

Candles & Flowers