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
"My 6th grader came home today and wrote the most beautiful examples of why he loves and respects his little brother. I’m not sure what kind of event you had at school today, January 28, 2009, but this truly is the most amazing experience we had at home in a long time. I just wanted to take a moment to say that it was great. My boys fight like siblings do, some days more than others. Today (my son) wrote about (his brother). (His brother) listened with tears in his eyes, sensitive to the fact that his big brother really does love him. I have to say that this is one of the most memorable events experienced at Crissman. Totally awesome! Thanks."

A Grateful Parent
Crissman Elementary School
Utica School District
Shelby Township, MI
"We are so pleased with the bucketfiller programs! Since beginning with bucketfilling, the referrals of students to my office for bullying behavior has decreased by about 40%. I expect that improvement to continue!"

Lisa Miller, Principal
Grundy Center Elementary School
Grundy Center, Iowa