Merrill H. Lundgren was affectionately dubbed “The Bucket Man” in 2003 by middle-school students in his first classroom workshop.

Although The Bucket Man had 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. From 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 was 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 said, “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 Lundgren died on January 10, 2016 at the age of 96. He will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched.