Dr. Ting, was born on April 22, 1915, in Hanzhou, China to Tze-fang and Ling-an ting, a wealthy industrialist family. After graduated from the National Tsing Hwa University in 1936, Dr. Ting came to the United States to study at Harvard University where he received his Ph.D. in English Philology in 1941. His doctoral thesis is a study in English prose and poetic romances in the first half of the seventeenth century. He returned to China and began his life-long career in teaching first at Hangzhou Christian University. A lover of freedom, he could not live under Japanese occupation and joined a group of peddlers to walk thousands of miles to Chungking, the war time capital of China, where he taught at the National Central University in 1943. After Japanese unconditional surrender in 1945, the university moved back to Nanking. On November 11, 1948, he married Lee-hsia Hsu in Nanking., China. In 1951, he joined the faculty of Lingnan University. He and his wife fled to Hong Kong in 1952, after Communists took over the mainland China. In 1955, he was invited by the U.S. Department of State to come to the United States under a senior professional grant and spent one year at Yale University. He returned to Hong Kong as a professor and the chairman of the English Department of the New Asia College (later part of the Chinese University of Hong Kong). He and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1956 and became naturalized citizens in 1961.He was also honorary professor at Peking University, Beijing, China.
In the United States, he taught at Pan American College (now the University of Texas - Pan American), Wisconsin State University, Eau Claire, and finally Western Illinois University, from where he retired in 1985. In his later years, Dr. Ting became interested in international folktale, and became a world renowned folklorist. He was a member of American Folklore Society, International Society for Folk-Narrative Research, Modern Language Association, and Keats-Shelley Association.
Dr. Ting is the author of dozens of professional articles and three books. His masterpiece is A Type Index of Chinese Folktales; in the Oral Tradition and Major Works of Non-Religious Classical Literature (Helsinki : Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia Academia Scientiarum Fennica, 1978)
which has several Chinese translations, The book is an indispensable tool in Chinese folktale research. According to Jia Zhi, president of China Folklore Society, China plans to build a national folklore museum near Beijing. When the building is completed, there will be a Mr. Ting Na-tung memorial room to house his books, manuscripts and other artifacts, in commemoration of his contributions to the Chinese folktale research. He is survived by his wife, Lee-hsia Hsu, scholar and librarian.