Charlene Drew Jarvis took office yesterday as the Ward 4 member of the D. C. City Council after a last-minute flurry of legal decisions cleared the way for the certification of her election.

In a brief opinion issued by two judges, the D.C. Court of Appeals denied a petition filed by losing candidate Norman C. Neverson who wanted to Block Jarvis from taking her seat on the council. Neverson claimed that Jarvis had not been a city resident long enough to qualify as a council candidate.

The City's Board of Elections and Ethics followed with an order saying there were "no emergency or extraordinary circumstances" that should delay issuance of an election certificate to Jarvis.

Late yesterday afternoon the certificate was issued and minutes later she was sworn in by Judge Spottswood W. Robinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals in a ceremony in the council chambers of the District Building. She then received a minute-long ovation and loud cheers from supporters who attended the ceremony.

James H. Craddock, an attorney for Neverson, said he would file another petition with the court of appeals within a week-as provided by law-seeking to overturn the result of the May 1 special election.

Neverson contended in petitions to the elections board Wednesday and the court yesterday that Jarvis did not live in the city for the full year prior to the May 1 election, as required by city law. Jarvis replied in a public statement that she met the residency requirement and was fully qualified as a candidate.

Yesterday, without holding a hearing, the court denied Neverson's petition in an order issued by associate Judges Stanley S. Harris and John M. Ferren. The order by the elections board, which had held a hearing Wednesday evening, was signed by both its current members, acting chairman Jeanus B. Parks Jr., and James L. Denson.

Jarvis, a Democrat who is the daughter of famed medical researcher Charles Drew, was elected to the Ward 4 seat vacated Jan. 2 when Arrington Dixon became City Council chairman. Ward 4 is an area with a politically active constituency in far Northwest Washington on the eastern edge of Rock Creek Park.

The final, official vote tally announced yesterday gave Jarvis 3,695 votes to Neverson's 2,327. There were 14 other names on the ballot.

The elections board yesterday also certified John L. Ray as the elected successor to Mayor Marion Barry's at-large council seat, and Eugene Kinlow as an at-large member of the school board replacing Betty Ann Kane, now a council member.

Ray, who has served since January by appointment of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, was sworn in by Judge Carl McGowan of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Both Jarvis and Ray will serve until after the November 1980 election.