Samantha Mize-Honatke with her three-year-old son Trey who “gets into everything” to the point that she and her husband have nicknamed him “Trey-nado”. PHOTO COURTESY SAMANTHA MIZE-HONATKE

Life by the numbers

Samantha Mize-Honatke says it is all about the people

Samantha Mize-Honatke once dipped her toe in water outside of Montana. She tried Phoenix for a year, “but the water was too hot,” she joked. Sure, she missed the Montana mountains and seasons and had a palpable distaste for all the concrete in the city, but people were what really made her pack up and head back to her Gallatin Gateway roots.

“People are so friendly here. You can actually talk to strangers without them thinking you are crazy. I had a hard time with that in Phoenix. People just thought I was crazy if I started a conversation [in a store]. It’s expected that you say hi to people here in Montana – and be friendly,” she said.

She appreciates her rural upbringing – no sidewalks, gravel roads and that all the neighborhood kids rode their bikes everywhere. She and her older sister both participated in athletics and also in “Montana girl” pursuits – things like horseback riding, and snowmobiling.

When she returned to the Treasure State, she worked at her aunt Lynne’s grocery store, The Country Market, a couple of nights a week – and met her future husband there. He took his sweet time asking her out, she says it was a full year of flirting before he “finally” made his move. Now, they have a three-year-old son they affectionately refer to as “our little Trey-nado.”

The couple moved to Bozeman from Big Sky a few years ago so they could get more bang for their buck with a home purchase. Still, they both continue to work in Big Sky.

“We do a lot of commuting. We are really lucky that my mom still lives here in Bozeman so she helps out a lot with Trey, I don’t think I could do half of what I do without her. She’s Trey’s Nana and I think that’s her favorite part,” she said.

In addition to being a fulltime accountant at Knaub & Company, caring for a three-yearold, and commuting to work every day, she is taking night classes so she can sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam. Marjorie Knaub is eyeing retirement and has selected her as successor.

Typical weekdays begin at 5:30 a.m. and end around 11 p.m., after she winds down her busy day with studying. She is the product of hard workers, so has that natural inclination toward staying busy, but this schedule is challenging. She is glad there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually, late nights of studying will end and she can once again resettle into a regular life tempo. After nine years with the company, she is excited for the new opportunity.

“Marjorie was desperate to get somebody in there and I was desperate to get something else going and I just think the stars aligned for us,” she said, describing it as the best career opportunity to ever occur in her life.

When every minute of every day is not scheduled, she can be found downhill mountain biking, camping or snowmobiling.

Montana is her home – by birth and by choice, and though her work means she zeros-in on numbers, she does not forget the people who make her life special.

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