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Jim and Kathy Flamson

Long-time Calistogans Jim and Kathy Flamson. Jim has been an insurance agent and tax preparer for 44 years and Kathy is Calistoga's city clerk. Both are retiring at the end of the year.

This winter, when it snows on Mt. St. Helena, Calistogan Jim Flamson said he’s going to drive up there and “hike in the snow. I haven’t done that in 44 years.”

Jim and Kathy Flamson are retiring next month: Kathy on Dec. 28, Jim three days later on Dec. 31.

Jim has been in business since 1974, most recently as a tax preparer, prior to that as an insurance agent, when he took over his father’s business. His business is called James Flamson Tax Service.

Kathy has had a varied career and most recently has served as Calistoga city clerk since February 2014.

“I’m looking forward to a February or a March day when it floods. I hate to say this, but I’m actually going to go out and watch it, instead of being in my office, hoping that the power doesn’t go out,” Jim said. “Those are the kind of silly things I want to do and I’ll get over that.”

Preparing for retirement has been interesting, he said, adding he bought the same amount of firewood this year that he has bought in the past. “Wait a minute, we’ll probably need more firewood, because I’m going to be home during the day all winter.”

Both Jim and Kathy are early risers and Jim said it’s going to be hard to break the habit of getting up at 4:30 in the morning, especially during tax season. But, he added, “I’ll bet I still get up early. I love sitting out in the morning with a cup of coffee reading the paper.”

Kathy said she’s looking forward to retirement. “We have about six months of almost freedom, then on July 1, I’m going to be District Governor” for the local Rotary region, she said. “That will keep us busy for a year. Then, after that, we know what we want to do …”

Jim broke in, “We’re taking it a day at a time right now.” He added their long-term plan is to buy a little trailer that can be towed behind a pickup truck. “It’s got a bathroom, shower and it’s small enough that I can back the thing up,” Jim said. “We’re gonna travel. We want to go back to some of the places we visited with everybody’s children when we were Scout leaders. This time without the Scouts.”

In October, Jim Flamson sent out a letter to his clients and friends, saying he had sold his tax preparation and bookkeeping business, James Flamson Tax Service, to Calistoga CPA Ron Koscielak, who has lived and worked in Calistoga since July 1989.

Over the past few years, Flamson said he would go to Koscielak to discuss particular tax issues. “I was real comfortable going into his office and saying, ‘You got a minute?’ And he’d stop what he was doing and we’d talk about it or do the research together,” Flamson said. When it was time to sell the business, Koscielak was “the first and only person I went to,” he added.

Flamson said Koscielak will take over his physical offices at 1422 Lincoln Ave., where both Jim and his father before him had their offices. For a long time, the Flamsons’ offices were in the front part of the building; today, they are in the rear.

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St. Helena Star Editor

David Stoneberg is the editor of the St. Helena Star, an award-winning weekly newspaper. Prior to joining the Star in 2006, he worked for the Lake County Record-Bee, the Clear Lake Observer American, the Middletown Times Star, The Weekly Calistogan and st