About Us

Merrill Lundgren "The Bucket Man"

Merrill Lundgren "The Bucket Man"

MEET OUR FOUNDER

The founder of Bucketfillers For Life, Merrill H. Lundgren, was affectionately dubbed “The Bucket Man” over seven years ago by middle-school students in his first classroom workshop.

Although The Bucket Man has used the metaphor of the bucket and dipper (created over 40 years by the late Dr. Donald O. Clifton) since 1979 in his well-known quality-of-life seminars, he did not bring the message to schools until 2003.  Since that day in May, the excellent reputation and powerful ripple effects of Merrill’s programs have spread throughout the county.  His work inspired the creation of two children’s picture books about bucket filling and a third book for classrooms and families written by his daughter, Stacey.  A complementary bucket filling company (some call it “competing”) was begun several years ago by a former apprentice of Merrill’s, further spreading the positive message.

Merrill is proud to have served in the U.S. Army Military Police during World War II.  He landed on Utah Beach on D-Day + 4, and he received five Battle Stars for his two years of service in Europe through the end of the conflict.  In 1994, son Peter compiled a manuscript of hundreds of letters that Merrill wrote to his wife, Edna, during the war.  The manuscript, Almost at the Front expertly weaves his letters into actual war events taking place at that time. The manuscript was subsequently discovered by British war historians at the Second World War Experience Centre in Leeds, England.  It, along with some of Merrill’s original letters, is on display at the centre. You may purchase Almost at the Front in its entirety HERE.

The Bucket Man says “My dream of leaving a legacy of love and caring is being realized in ways I could not have imagined.  Not only have thousands and thousands of children benefited from this message, but my own children, Stacey and Peter, joined me in the effort.  I am a happy man!”

Merrill, age 92, continues to co-present in schools and businesses.  He lives in Brighton, Michigan, with his wife of 68 years, Edna.  They have two children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

“Kelly, I want to personally thank you for your visit to Bethune, you enthusiasm was just the surge we needed! It is so beneficial to have another person from outside the community present the ideas in a different voice and in a different way. I thought your style, the content, and the message was very engaging and worth every moment of our attention. I really appreciated the assemblies and then the workshops that helped the students SEE the ideas in action. Your treatment of some of the more nuanced behaviors (like exclusion, name-calling, etc.) were excellent. Thank you so much for doing this important work!"

Kaleb Rashad, Principal, Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School, Moreno Valley, CA
“The Bucketfiller presentations have presented the Leonard Elementary School students with a life-altering experience. Our students were excited to learn how to express their inner thoughts with others. They are ready to share their positive thoughts with the world around them as dedicated ‘Bucketfillers’.”

Jerry Cottone, Principal
Leonard Elementary School
Troy, MI
“Hi Kelly! I just wanted to say thank you again for everything last week! We have received more positive comments than ever before on any program!”

Kaity Heath, District K-8 PE Coordinator, Senita Valley Elementary School, Tucson, AZ