Claire Henline Gustafson comes from a multi-generational New Jersey family with roots in the Garden State that pre-date the Revolutionary War. Claire was born at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey to the former Margaret Carpenter, a Union County native, and Clair G. Henline, an officer in the United States Army and veteran of both World War II and the Korean War. A resident of Collingswood since the early 1980s, Claire is married to Roy Gustafson. Together they have five children and fifteen grandchildren.
Claire spent a majority of her youth in Washington, D.C. where her father was assigned to the Pentagon. Claire’s experience growing up in a military family, which included both her two brothers and several brothers-in-law serving in the Armed Forces, has made her an ardent supporter of our men and women in uniform. She is extremely proud of her eldest brother, a war veteran and career Army officer who died as a result of his honorable service to the country.
Claire attended Hardy Elementary and Gordon Junior High School in the District of Columbia. Her freshman and sophomore years were spent at Octavia High School in her father’s hometown of Colfax, Illinois where she was elected to student government both years. She completed course work at Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac, Maryland. While in high school, Claire started her long time recreational coaching career with the Catholic Youth Organization in Washington, D.C. Upon graduation, Claire was accepted into Marjorie Webster College where she pursued a degree in retail merchandising. An avid athlete, she led her college field hockey team to an undefeated season in 1970 and was selected for the All-East Coast Women’s Field Hockey Team. Claire actively participated in student government throughout her educational career and was on the Board of Trustees at Connolly. Her interest and passion for school governance and education only increased as she raised her children and became a member of the local school board and helped with youth sports leagues in Collingswood.
Claire has had a long and successful career in retail and children’s clothing. She possesses a keen acumen for business, financial management, and customer service. Her merchandising career highlights include: owning The Tree House children’s store, working in independent sales, serving as a clothing representative for Selbst/Gustafson and Associates, and now being president of her own clothing distributor, Gus 4 Kids. Her adept budgetary and organizational skills as well as her ability to form savvy business partnerships have benefitted her borough greatly. She has been actively involved in organizing community events that promote awareness for causes, spur civic pride, and celebrate family.
Claire’s firm basis for success is founded in her strong love of family and neighbors. The fifth of eight children, she is happiest amongst her large brood of siblings, nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren, who share in her wit, wisdom, creativity, and love of country.