David Clegg, a former teacher and factory worker from Knottingley, was diagnosed with mesothelioma just a week before he died in February, aged 58.
His wife Susan, 59, has instructed industrial disease experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he may have come into contact with deadly asbestos dust which causes the illness.
Irwin Mitchell said Mr Clegg worked at Pollards Bearings in Ferrybridge for eight weeks over the summer while he was at University in the 1970s.
He also worked at Goole Grammar School between 1979 and 1980 and Featherstone High School from 1980 to 2000.
Mum-of-two Mrs Clegg appealed for former colleagues to come forward.
She said: “David and I were shocked and devastated by the diagnosis. We had no time to come to terms with it. We had made plans for our retirement together and now I am facing that future alone.”
Mr Clegg had described scraping out a fibrous material he believed was asbestos from the inside of furnaces at Pollards Bearings.
His family also have concerns that exposure could have happened in classrooms at the two schools.
Mr Clegg was also a keen writer who had work published by Stairwells in York before his death.
Ian Toft, head of the industrial disease team at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, representing Mrs Clegg, said: “It’s important that we now help Susan and her family get answers about his exposure to the deadly dust.
“Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable cancer which causes so much distress for people like Susan and her family.
“On this occasion, the disease took David’s life within only one week of his diagnosis.
“Sadly, many employers did not do enough to manage the risks of asbestos exposure, despite knowing how dangerous it is.”
Anyone with information should contact Ian Toft at Irwin Mitchell on 0113 218 6453.