About Us

Merrill Lundgren "The Bucket Man"

Merrill Lundgren “The Bucket Man”


Merrill H. Lundgren was affectionately dubbed “The Bucket Man” over 12 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 50 years ago 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 country.  His work has inspired the creation of several children’s books about bucket filling, and inspired son Peter Lundgren to create Bucketfillers For Life in 2007.

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, 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.

The Bucket Man says “My dream of leaving a legacy of love and caring is being realized in ways I could not have imagined.  Thousands and thousands of children have benefited from this message.”

Merrill, age 96, still lives his life as a bucketfiller, and resides with Peter in Howell, MI.

“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
“Kelly provided an enthusiastic presentation to our students and our staff! In a school of over 1,100 students, Kelly’s presentation demonstrated that bucketfilling spirit, and our students were engaged and have been talking about Bucketfilling since! Our staff includes forty teachers in grades kindergarten through fifth grade, and the complexity of a staff of this size with varied interests did not stop Kelly! We spoke over the phone before hand, and Kelly designed a training session that treated our staff professionally, and reflected the importance of being Bucketfiller – even if you’re a grown up!’”

Cindy Venolia
Principal, Stone Ranch Elementary School
San Diego, CA.